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San Bernardino NWR and Arizona Game and Fish Department Partner to Transfer Fish Between Refuge and Douglas High School
Southwest Region, February 12, 2009
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Douglas High School Pond.  Photo by Marty Underwood, 2/17/2009, Douglas, Arizona
Douglas High School Pond. Photo by Marty Underwood, 2/17/2009, Douglas, Arizona - Photo Credit: n/a

The Yaqui chub (Gila purpurea) and the Yaqui topminnow (Poeciliopsis occidentalis sonoriensis) are Federally-listed species found only in the drainage of the Rio Yaqui, which drains portions of Southwestern New Mexico, Northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico, Southeastern Arizona and Northeastern Sonora, Mexico. Loss of habitat, due to agricultural practices, is the main reason for the listing of these two fish. These species were generally found in river, stream, or spring habitats and they had the ability to move up or downstream depending on conditions, but because of the loss of habitat, artificial impoundments have been created in the region to provide refuge for these fish. These impoundments, while not native habitat, do provide the necessary requirements for survivorship and productivity for these species. In addition, the habitat and water that feeds the impoundments can be managed more easily. However, one of the drawbacks to this type of management is the loss of genetic diversity due to restricted populations. Because of the likely loss of genetic diversity it was deemed beneficial by Refuge Staff to transfer fish between San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge and the Douglas High School Pond.

Refuge Staff along with Jason Kline of the Arizona Game and Fish Department moved over 800 fish between impoundments on San Bernardino NWR and a pond at Douglas High School. The pond at the high school was established for these fish through a Partner’s for Fish and Wildlife Project. The fish from the refuge were collected from different impoundments to ensure a good diversity of genetics from the refuge were represented. The fish collected from the high school were placed into impoundments on the refuge where numbers were low or where fish had been previously moved from for other restocking projects.


Contact Info: Christopher Lohrengel, 520-364-2104 x.106, chris_lohrengel@fws.gov



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